Getting the House Ready to Sell: Why Pictures Are Oh-So-Important

Believe it or not, but Spring really is just around the corner and if you are thinking about selling your house anytime this year, then here is some of the best advice I can give you: pictures, pictures, pictures. I have been house shopping for months, and I can’t get over how some realtors post either no pictures, or the crappiest pictures humanly possible on their listings. I can tell you that I unilaterally decide whether to go see a house based on the pictures. If your realtor posts a bunch of wretchedly bad pictures of your house, you really will be lucky to get people in the door for a showing. Because I know that pictures drive my search as a buyer, they better be my top priority as a seller.

My pictures plan is two-fold, and here is where Spring comes in.

Spring is the best time to take exterior pictures of your house. The grass is green, the flowers (if you have them) are blooming and your landscaping will never look better. If you will be moving in Winter, a picture of your house with a yard full of dead grass and mud is already putting you behind in the game. You house will look tired, and that isn’t a good first impression for someone scouring internet listings. If you’ve got landscaping that looks great in Spring/Summer, by all means, take exterior pictures of your house THEN! Tuck them away as insurance if you ever need to sell your house, and you won’t be that person in January that is like “Dang, if only people could see the yard when it looks good!!”

Our house has great landscaping, so I made sure to snap great pics of the exterior last Spring:

See…green, pretty flowers and sunshine! That’s way better than the brown hot mess my landscaping is right now. Will one picture sell my house? Of course not. But it will have someone pause for a second rather than clicking right by a Winter-dead yard.

Now that we’ve established well-timed photo opportunities, here’s another piece of advice regarding pictures: Unless your realtor stands to make a boatload of money off your house, he/she may not be overly invested in taking pictures, and most realtors aren’t going to spend a whole lot of time taking/editing good photos. I am taking and editing all of our house photos using my very amateur photography skills and free Picasa editing tools. Here’s an example.

The average realtor will stand in the doorway and take a quick point-and-shoot photo of a room, which may look something like this:

This pic is dark, has a bad angle and shows nothing about the room. But again, unless your realtor is good, or stands to make some big bucks off you, he/she is going to put forth minimal effort on your house pictures. Instead of this tactic, I would take two pics to show full dimension at different angles and lighten them up using two seconds of photo editing:

These obviously are not perfect pictures, but they beat the first because they are brighter, show more scale and dimension, and give potential buyers more to see. They also give an additional vantage point of the dining room that further allow buyers to make connections regarding the scale and flow of the house.

So here’s the deal…only you know your realtor, and only you know whether the pictures he/she will take will actually represent your home in its best light. Even if you don’t have the basics on photography, maybe you have an amateur photographer friend that would help you out for $50 bucks or a bottle of wine.

So, there’s my picture soapbox for today. But when your financial future is on the line, I believe in stacking the deck in every cheap, inventive way possible.

Jeeze, I need a drink just thinking about this…

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